After experiencing its worst recession since independence in 2020, Singapore’s economy recovered in 2021, growing by 7.2%. That recovery is expected to continue an upward trajectory this year, with the economy expected to grow up to 5%.
Among the service-producing industries, companies in information and communications, finance and insurance, and professional services performed the best, enjoying 6.8% growth in 2021. These industries have continued hiring, and currently account for close to a third of job vacancies. They also happen to offer some of the highest paying jobs in Singapore.
It was also a good year for wholesale and retail trade, transportation and storage, which grew 4.3%; and accommodation, food services, real estate, administrative and support services, which grew by 4%.
There is some optimism that these industries could experience more growth if borders reopen further, and if there is further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in Singapore. However, recovery will likely be uneven.
Another positive sign for Singapore’s economy is a further decline in its unemployment rate, which stood at about 2.5% as of November 2021.
If you are considering changing jobs or career paths, now is as good a time as any to start keeping a lookout. The Singapore job market is looking good for employees, particularly in the growth sectors mentioned above. There is a chance that you will see your income rise if you bring your transferable skills to the highest paying industries in Singapore.
To help you decide on your next move, we have compiled a list of the highest paying jobs in Singapore, derived from our 2022 Michael Page Salary Report.
While the list features senior roles, it will help job seekers at any point in their careers, even fresh graduates, identify the sectors that will offer competitive salary packages and hire aggressively in the months to come.
Top 10 highest paying jobs in Singapore
1. C-suite roles
It is not surprising that executive positions are among the highest paying jobs in Singapore. The salaries of a Chief Executive Officer, a Chief Financial Officer and a Chief Operating Officer usually range from S$300,000 to S$525,000 a year in sectors such as Business Services, Chemicals & Engineering, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Financial Services & Fintech and Healthcare & Life Sciences.
2. Partner at an international firm
Lawyers have among the most demanding jobs in Singapore, often working in high-pressure environments with long hours. As the profession reckons with high attrition rates, especially among its junior lawyers, it handsomely rewards those who are willing to stick with it and rise through the ranks.
A Partner at a local firm can expect to earn about S$300,000 a year, while a Partner at an international firm will take home an average salary of S$480,000 per annum.
(Browse all legal-related roles here.)
3. Regulatory Affairs Director
While the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector in Singapore was already doing well before the pandemic, COVID-19 has accelerated its growth. With global healthcare companies making Singapore their regional headquarters, they will need a top professional with knowledge pertaining to laboratory, technical sales, and regulatory affairs. This is where a Regulatory Affairs Director, who can command around S$360,000 a year, comes in.
This person helps bridge the processes of private healthcare companies with that of regulatory authorities and will therefore need to be knowledgeable in both scientific and legal affairs.
(Browse all roles in regulatory affairs here.)
4. General Counsel
Earning between S$280,000 and S$350,000, general counsels are more than just lawyers. These top legal officers are required to draw upon industry knowledge and function as business advisors to CEOs. These days, they will also need to know how to leverage legal technology to drive efficiencies in their organisations.
(Browse all general-counsel-related roles here.)
5. Head of Sales
The sales department performs an essential function in any business, and top sales professionals are usually well compensated. However, one working in the Financial Services & Fintech sector, particularly in trading, stands to take home a salary of about S$347,000, which is at the higher end of the spectrum compared to their counterparts in other industries.
Along with paying a rewarding salary, the Financial Services & Fintech industry is continuing to hire aggressively. Thousands of jobs are still being created annually, in functions as diverse as technology, relationship management, and compliance and risk management. This is largely because this sector has fared exceptionally well during the pandemic, growing by 6% in the first half of 2021 alone in Singapore.
(Browse all roles in financial services here.)
6. Head of Investment Banking
2021 was a banner year for investment banking as activity in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) hit a record high in Singapore, raking in fees of about US$1 billion. This will spur the hiring of even more bankers with knowledge of M&A. A Head of Investment Banking can earn about S$360,000 a year, while an Investment Banking Director is not too far behind at S$300,000.
(Browse all roles in investment banking here.)
7. Head of Compliance
COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digital transformation in the Financial Services & Fintech industry. Consequently, compliance departments have had to keep pace with increasingly complex regulatory requirements using RegTech and more advanced technology solutions.
Alongside the mitigation of risks posed by financial crime, compliance professionals must now also grapple with issues related to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). A Head of Compliance or Managing Director of Compliance in Financial Services & Fintech can earn between S$300,000 to S$350,000, while the yearly salary for those positions is between S$250,000 and S$260,000 in FMCG and Chemicals & Engineering.
(Browse all compliance-related roles here.)
8. Head of Procurement
Procurement professions help ensure that a company has the items and services it needs to run efficiently. Procurement departments have to manage costs, maximise resources and negotiate supplier contracts. They also need to have a handle on best practices around corporate social responsibility, as more companies are now putting more emphasis on sustainable procurement.
Because of the increasing complexity of the role, a high-level procurement professional, such as a Head of Procurement, will be in high demand and can take home between S$112,000 to S$320,000 a year.
(Browse all procurement-related roles here.)
9. Head of Human Resources
No longer just an administrative support function, human resources departments have their work cut out for them as the competition for talent heats up in Singapore. These professionals need to have strong analytical skills, be able to help identify problems in the corporation, develop and sustain employee engagement, retain talent and plan for the workforce’s future needs.
A HR Director or Head of HR can earn between S$196,000 to S$260,000 a year. Interestingly, a Head of Compensation & Benefits in Business Services could potentially earn a salary of S$265,000 a year, which appears to reflect the increasing importance that firms are placing on employee retention.
(Browse all HR-related roles here.)
10. Supply Chain Operations Director
The supply chain sector has had to undergo drastic transformation due to the pandemic. Supply-chain professionals have had to work hard to make the chains more agile, flexible and resilient.
As such, senior supply chain executives who are strategic thinkers and have the requisite knowledge and experience to transform a company’s supply chain will be duly compensated and can be expected to be paid between S$129,000 to S$280,000 a year.
(Browse all roles in the supply chain industry here.)
Our 2022 Salary Report provides a comprehensive look at the most up-to-date salary numbers in different industries and for all experience levels. Download a copy of our latest salary report here.
Disclaimer: Salaries can differ from one company to another, and depending on your skills, knowledge and experience.
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